Attending Church 4: It’s mine: Being Jealous with First Fruits.

While reflecting on the experiences I have had in church I was recently reminded of one church that I went to. Specifically the tithing that happened in the church.

In the year that my wife and I, newly married, attended the church we took a keen interest in making sure that we gave of our earnings to God. Often this almost broke the bank. Lots of time we bought pasta, it is cheap, and ate it for two whole weeks for each dinner. I am not trying to show how ‘good’ we were but trying to lay a foundation for our irritation. One Sunday we noticed that the tithe from the week before was not much. When we went home and talked about it we realized that out of the approximately 300 people that attended the church there was only about $30 over the number that we gave. At first we figured that we were just on a different two week pay period than most of the members. So the next Sunday we again looked at the tithe. This time the total given was less than what we had given. Over the year this pattern often continued, with a few notable Sundays that were outside of the norm. At the annual meeting the church leadership talked about being about $30,000 over budget because projected giving was that low. We ended up going for almost 2 years. I know from other churches that some business owners wait till the end of the fiscal year and then make one large donation out of the business. Again this did not seem to happen. For a while I even worked as a carpenter and built houses for a few of our members. I built mansions for these people. They had no problem spending $100,000 on a copper roof. But giving to the church did not seem in their budget.

I know that many of you may be rushing to the comment field to tell me that I am not responsible for others actions just for my own. You want to tell me that my faithfulness will be rewarded. What I learned out of the whole experience was the effect of a community mindset. It seemed that the community in general was withholding funds. They did not see that it was necessary to give, because someone else would do it. In a class of mine a pastor talked about his mega-church and how hey continually decreased there budget and each year giving went down too. They decreased the budget because the giving was not keeping up and then the giving underperformed.

The intent of this is to highlight the need to give. We are required to give our first fruits to God. God was happier with a woman who gave a mite than a man who gave lots. How is your giving? Do you measure up in faithful giving?

I suppose now is time for my confession. Currently we are sporadic tithers. We tithe when it is convenient. Sometimes I go for a while without tithing. As much as this is a challenge to you this is a challenge to me. So together lets do better.

The Other Posts in the Series

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~ by curtismchale on December 2, 2007.

7 Responses to “Attending Church 4: It’s mine: Being Jealous with First Fruits.”

  1. Recently a friend emailed me a copy of Russell E. Kelly’s free to download ebook titled
    “Should the church teach tithing”.
    It is a remarkably exhaustive study on the subject, great for anyone truly curious about this subject. I say truly curious because it is over 200 pages long… so grab coffee and snacks before starting it!

    I haven’t read any of the other articles on the below site yet, but the Kelly ebook (scroll down to find it) is very comprehensive, and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Not light reading, but well worth the weight!

    http://prayershack.freeservers.com/tithing.html

  2. It it obvious to me that somebody had their hand in the cookie jar and was stealing church funds. There is no way that a church with 300 members only gave $30 more than you gave.

  3. Beyond Bluestockings:

    Thanks for the link to the site. I have downloaded the book and will read it over the Christmas break. I will also check out the site more in depth when I have the time.

  4. russkellyphd:

    It is possible that someone was stealing from the church. I know that pastor was let go shortly after we stopped going. I have no idea if it had anything to do with the financial situation but it happened.

    Also, if the people in the church have cold hearts it is entirely possible that they would not give. Some of the cheapest people I know are Christians. In fact I really don’t like working for Christians because they are the cheapest with their employees, in my experience.

  5. I worked for a Christian business for 3 years before I left, due to the fact that I was overworked and underpaid, and had not received a raise in the entire 3 years… despite moving up the ladder to functioning nearly as assistant manager (they refused to give me the official title though I was doing all the work). It was ridiculous, and I couldn’t believe a Christian organization could operate that way.

    I also try to make a point of tipping well on Sundays, because after having worked in the food service industry (my next job, heh), I am well aware of the stigma that comes with working in a restaurant on Sundays – that’s when all the cheap people come in for lunch. Who are they? The churchgoers. What a great example to set for the world… to be known as the cheap people that no one wants to deal with.

    Giving to the church is incredibly important, and really, the money isn’t ours to begin with – so we shouldn’t have a problem giving back. The story of the woman with her pennies in the Gospels is 100% how we should treat tithing – giving even when it hurts. We live in such a privileged society, can we not even spare a few dollars from our own selfish pockets?

    That said, I struggle with tithing regularly too. It’s not easy – but then, sacrifice isn’t supposed to be easy in the first place.

  6. God desires more then mammon…I am more concerned with people giving proper time with God, myself primarily.

    As for tithing..we home church…so we give our money to various causes..

  7. My comment is. Who taught tithing in the NT? Answer, no one. Jesus ragged the religious leaders about it one day as they were dodging bullets. But no Apostle ever said U had to tithe. ALL giving in the NT was cause driven. Meaning there was a cause. Paul told the people it was heart driven. That is why we have the HS. The idea is that we ask the HS what 2 give and He will tell U. U see the church teaches about the HS and how we are to submit to His leading in our lives. BUT the church does not trust us to do that so it wants 2 become the HS in our lives.

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